During those two wretched weeks, I fall into bed at the end of every day and stare, catatonic, at my laptop willing myself to refrain from posting yet another sniveling status update on facebook. I also spend an inordinate amount of time on facebook. Sad but true. I'm lonely when you're gone.
I barely make it to scheduled appointments and events on time...okay at all. Your kids don't sleep, I don't sleep, the dog doesn't stop barking and convincing me there's a predator outside my upstairs window at 2 in the morning (or that the zombie apocalypse has come at last). We watch a lot more TV, too.
The only saving grace is that the house is spotless. Seriously. I make up for the lack of you (or is it because of the lack of you?) with shiny countertops and clean dishes and crumb-free floors. Don't get me wrong, I don't go crazy. The housekeeper still has plenty to do.
But after two weeks- and it's always two weeks exactly- I notice the cadence of the day shifts from "exhausted chaotic frenzy" to "steady marginal chaos." It's a great shift. We do normal stuff! We have our routine! We eat three real, healthy, homecooked meals a day! There is more being on time and less sobbing. I still spend a huge amount of time on facebook, but not as much.
Even after that shift, though- we have some serious oddball roller coaster days. Mother's Day was one of those days:
I had insomnia all night the night before- being awake from 01:30 onward 'till sunrise; Then giving up, getting up, and moving to the couch downstairs...where I promptly fell asleep for a whole blessed hour before River came to find me and the day began. We had a great morning, too, with some bumps in the road when we changed breakfast plans mid-stream ("You're not cooking breakfast right now? We have to go where? But we're hungry!").
Our early afternoon was fun, too. We had a great time at farmer's market, running into a good friend, making up for your lack of present (I know, I'm not your mom!) with some plant and hat shopping, and on to the store to get containers for said new plants, potting soil, and some impulse kiddie pools. So great!
Then we get home, still doing well, set up the kiddie pools with a 3 and 5 year old given unbridled use of the two garden hoses, and I set to work planting my new plants. All good, right? Listening for both voices, poking my head from garage to yard from time to time to make sure no one was drowning... Well, I'm sure glad I did that! One minute we're running through the sprinkler-turtle's chilly streams, the next a chicken is drenched on the lawn, unmoving.
Maia looks up at me and says "She's okay, Mom, she's just lying down for a minute." I look down at this sopping wet chicken that is indeed lying down...struggling to breathe. Oh, no! Maia!!!
Cue my calm mom-business demeanor. Everyone onto the porch and dry off. Naptime has arrived. While they did their no-naptime-tantrum dances, I picked up said waterlogged chicken and brought her to a sunny spot on the deck- and attempted to modify chest compressions to my poultry. I put her on her back and thumped her chest a few times, but her breastbone really prevented that from working. Next, I turned her upside down and squeezed her- marginal success! Water streamed out of her mouth and I heard air moving! Good! So I tried a few more squeezes- like she was a bellows and the deck was a stubborn fire...in-out-in-out... While I'm thinking: "Come on chicken, please don't make my daughter an animal murderer today of all days..."
Success! The chicken sneezed and started breathing on her own! Next I spread her wings out in the sun and held them there, letting the sun bake her dry. Soon after, she started to walk around and shake herself off.
As of this morning she was looking none the worse for the wear- and she is quite a bit cleaner than the other gals. Not a bathing style I'd recommend, though. She did not lay us an egg this morning. I don't really blame her!
After chicken CPR, I went inside to deal with my (still no-nap-tantrum-dancing) naked savages "Where did your swimsuits go?" and realized yes, 4PM is definitely not a good time to start thinking of naps. Whoops. I dressed the kids, and put them to bed- all the while trying to explain what it means to treat our animals with respect and that yes, animal torture is very much against the rules. River went right to sleep- Maia had other plans.
Insert awful nap battle here. Maia's the queen of these. I don't want to relive it. Imagine your kids doing it, but worse. Because I'm competitive like that.
And then it was time to go! To Marrakesh! The Moroccan restaurant where they serve you in the traditional way- and you eat on poufs at low tables, there's a belly dancer, rose water hand baths, and everything! Phenomenal food, too. My friend comes over (it's her first Mother's Day! Hooray!) and we head to the restaurant after very minor complaining from your savages about getting dressed. Again. Where do their clothes go? Why the nudity, always?
And it was wonderful. So wonderful it made me nearly forget the hellish afternoon hours of chicken-waterboarding and tantrums, and love our kids again. We all went home full and quite happy. And I slept! All night! And the kids slept in this morning!
So we're back to regularly scheduled programming on the Daddy-in-the-Field setting. Today was fine, except for the part when I stood in front of my Nikki McClure wall calendar, wishing weeks away so that I could see you sooner. Also contemplating just how apropos the imagery for May is: